two girls…woven stories

My youngest and I got to go on a little girls’ trip together. It was a trip several years in the making. Nearly three years ago I got an email from an etsy seller asking if I’d be interested in hosting a giveaway for her shop. The seller’s name was Angie Weldon and she was working hard filling her etsy shop with cuteness in hopes to help fund their adoption. They were adopting a little girl from China. Angie sent me a few bags and I shared about them on my blog (post here). That was in September 2010.

After that initial email from Angie, I followed her blog to keep up with her story.

2011 rolled around and Chris and I began the paperwork to begin an open domestic adoption. I’ve written more about that whole process before. Long story short is after we had mailed off our application, I just had an unsettling feeling. We were so excited about the road we were on, and yet something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t place it. Randomly, I thought about Angie. They were still waiting to travel to bring home their daughter and she had never posted a picture of her sweet girl. I really only knew that their process was going fast compared to the 5-6 year wait I had heard that Chinese adoptions take.

On May 9, 2011 I emailed Angie asking her why their process was going so fast.

She quickly emailed me back and included a photo of her daughter, Emery. A gorgeous baby girl with a cleft lip and palate.

The moment I saw Emery’s photo, I knew. I knew deep down I had a Little One in China with a cleft lip and palate. (post with more about that)

There is so much more to that whole story, but you can read the old posts for all that.

Bottom line is Little One in my arms is a direct result of the life of Emery Weldon.

God is so good. I love when He writes crazy stories full of unexpected surprises.

Angie virtually held my hand through our adoption and through these past few months being home with our girl. She understood the emotions I felt in that hospital recovery room after Little One’s lip repair. She just gets all the stuff that I can never explain. There have been days over the last year that felt so overwhelming and realities that have been so hard to face – Angie’s sweet encouragement helped me through so much. She is a gift from God in my life.

So, last week I boarded a plane with my girl and we flew across the country to finally get these sweet girls together…and for Angie and I to meet in ‘real life’.

The headphones lasted about a minute. I’ve done a lot of traveling on planes with kids. A lot. I have lots of tricks and methods. None of them work with this girl. Our first flight was horrible. It only lasted an hour, but it was horrible. I landed and called Chris. The minute I heard his voice I started crying. I was very strongly considering renting a car and making the 5 hour drive back home. But I didn’t. I trekked on…

And I am so glad I didn’t rent that car. When our plane landed I saw Angie and her kids waiting for us and it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally meeting Angie was such a gift. After years of emailing and texting (and a few phone calls) I was certain Angie would be exactly as she seems on her blog. She is. Laid back, easy going, creative, crazy about her kids, a great mom, the kind of woman you just want to hang out with all the time. I felt the freedom with her to just relax and be completely me. That doesn’t always happen when I meet new people. Seeing our girls together was a little surreal. These two, whose stories are woven together in the most incredible ways. These two that are so very much alike and on such similar journeys. These two…a year apart in age.

Angie has two boys the ages of two of my boys, so Little One felt right at home. I love this family so much.

We tried for three days to get photos of the girls together, but nearly every shot is a blur. They were a blur of movement, so I guess the images are true to life.

I am so grateful Clint and Angie let us invade their house for a few days. Emery is about a year ahead of Little One regarding surgeries, speech, communication, etc. I picked Angie’s brain on a million things. It was wonderful to talk with someone that understood all the layers of clefts, adoption, Chinese adoptions, communication, attachment, etc. It is stuff I don’t talk about regularly, but sometimes need to. Little One’s next surgery will be sometime this summer and it is a much bigger surgery (medically, not cosmetically) than the lip repair. I am doing my best not to get anxious about it….it was great timing to be able to talk to Angie about all that too.

And to top it off, while we were at the Weldon’s, Little One touched food to her mouth for the first time! More on that later this week, but that is HUGE!!

So, after three wonderful days with friends, it was time to head back home. Never say never. BUT, I am never flying with a toddler again.

The last flight was an hour long and she crashed. Just enough rest to have energy for her siblings when she got home.

She hasn’t been away from her brothers and sister for that long since she came home. I wish I had video of her on the trampoline with them. She was more excited and giddy than we have ever seen her. She just kept laughing and wrestling with the boys. She couldn’t contain her excitement to be with them again. It was quite simply awesome.

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  • Amy Cornwell - What a wonderful gift to be able to meet them and get the girls together. I’m so lad she can walk beside you in your journey.

  • Liane - Now when people ask me “Why do you blog?” I think I’m going to show them this post. It is amazing the friendships that can be carved out of the internet. The way we as women can all inspire other women. It really is amazing.

    Liane x

  • Sarah{Handbags*N*Pigtails} - God is so good,isn’t he? Being able to spend that time with a like-visioned family is a wonderful thing. And I’m sure Angie was blessed by your visit as well.:)

  • Necole @seriouslysassymama - It is quite simply awesome!

  • amber - I love this. And when she came home? I have no words. Amazingly sweet.

  • Tera - OOoh! I love this post! I love Angie– she was such an encouragement to me as we waited for a referral and while in China. That’s how I found your blog– through her blog! I love how God orchestrates all of these “simple and innocent” details that are really so much more and life-changing! I experienced something similar… we were researching all sides of adoption from any country. I too thought the wait seemed too long for China…and then, I stumbled across the blog of a little heart baby from China and I knew deep in my heart that I too had a little heart baby in China. I love how God directs us and stirs our hearts!

  • sophie - Beautiful! I love reading your posts and seeing your photos – an inspiration!

  • Robin L. - Hi Awesome pics as always! We just flew with my toddler, so I completely understand! Just curious, are you at Longwood Gardens here?

  • Cait - I have the pleasure of knowing Angie and Clint and photographing their beautiful family πŸ™‚ She truly is a treasure. I have loved reading your blog and following the beautiful story of your daughter as well as Emery. So special for the two of you to have the two of them (Angie and Emery) in your lives!

  • dee - Beautiful pictures as always.I never belived in the power of until recently.So yes I believe he had a hand in this-love dee xx

  • Missy - So wonderful that you all got to meet in real life… and how your daughters’ stories are intertwined… It’s funny because I would say that the biggest reason we chose to adopt through the China special needs program instead of another route is because of reading about your journey to Little One(which in turn also led me to read about the Weldon’s journey too!). Isn’t it amazing to think about how a single event can lead to so many other people’s lives changing??? Incredible.

    And I totally sympathize about the plane rides with a toddler… not fun at all. πŸ™‚

  • Chelsea Wilson - Little One’s photos make me smile every single time I see them! And I loved seeing the old photos of tiny Fire Cracker when I clicked through to your older posts!

  • Judy Beltrez - Wow this was such a great and encouraging post!
    I have been following for te past few months and you are such a huge blessing and inspiration to us mothers. Thank you!

  • Jacci - Oh, I am so glad I sat down at my computer for a moment πŸ™‚ what a joy! what an answer to prayer πŸ™‚ I am so thankful with you for this time with your sweet friend. for the very specific support and encouragement she can give. And those sweet girlies!! Praise our God & Father for His tender care of us!

  • Kimber - I was at a conference recently where someone said Never let anyone tell you “Twitter is frivolous.” This from a woman whose tweets encouraged a connection that led her to work with NASA.
    I feel the same way about blogs. Your story has weight, validity and purpose. Your connection to the Weldons is a testimony to God working… even through social media. What an awesome trip {minus the toddler plane hysteria} and a sweet memory to treasure.

  • Amy - That is so great that you have someone to talk to who knows exactly what you are going through.

    Too bad the flights didn’t go so well!

  • Deb @ PaperTurtle - I loved reading this post, Ashley, and am so happy that you were able to meet and spend time with your blog friend! I have made some lovely friends through blogging, and I recently was able to meet a group of blog friends who had all supported my mom during her battle with ovarian cancer. We’d been friends online for over 3 years, so being together in person felt so comfortable and natural.

    What a blessing for you to have the connection with Angie, and also a blessing for your sweet little girls.

  • Laura J. - Sounds like your journey was worth the challenges on the plane. How exciting about Little One and the food!! There is a quote about children I love from Mister (Fred) Rogers: “A berry ripens in its own good time … and so does a child’s readiness. Just as the one needs water and sunlight, the other needs the patient reassurance of loving adults who can trust children to grow according to their own timetables.” Patience and a good OT will carry you a long way!

  • creole wisdom - This is such a beautiful story: two friends, two darling girls, lots of love and God’s hand. I’m sending it off to a few friends who don’t blog to read, because like Liane said above, this is what it’s all about. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Jenny - What a wonderful trip! It was lovely to read about your experience.

  • Laree @ Ever Heard Of Euless - What an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing another small piece of your journey with us.

    My hubby and I have always wanted to adopt. But that’s as far as it’s ever gone. But recently I’ve been hearing more and more stories of the unbelievable roller coaster of a journey that people have gone through, and instead of scaring me off, it’s getting me more excited.

  • Michelle - I love seeing how God can weave the lives of two strangers together for his kingdom and glory. Thank you for sharing. Your blog is always to encouraging. Hugs!

  • Gina - God always seems to make connections in our lives that would be impossible to make without Him. Such a sweet story! Traveling is fun (well, without toddlers :)} but nothing is better than coming home! Glad you had a fun trip!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - What a treasure!! And food to her mouth! Woo hoo!

  • elizabeth H - i *LOVE* these GOD stories!! They bring a huge smile to my face & continually remind me of how AWESOME He truly is!
    Friendship you’ve described is such a gift!!
    i’m SO happy that you have the bond of friendship w. someone who’s walked the same path & shares the same emotions…
    good, good stuff!!

  • giozi - Beautiful story, both of you have pretty girls. Your trip was amazing, new people, new friends.

  • Suzanne - The story that He plans and weaves together that we don’t always get to see. How wonderful and amazing, it brought tears and a lump in my throat. Beautiful!

  • skippee - I’ve been waiting for this post! Soo awesome to see you all finally meet. It melts my heart to see Emery & Little One together~ destined to be friends, just like their mamas. I love how God weaves such intricate and powerful stories to bring people together. You and Angie have both been such inspirations to me~ I feel so blessed to know you. I hope that one day I’ll be able to meet you and your amazing family too! =)

  • emily - What a great story. I love how only God can intertwine and the make blossom sweet stories like this.

  • Stacy Dean - Amazing πŸ™‚ I just love it when you post about Little One. And might I add that I LOVE her blanket she was snuggled in on the plane.

  • Sarah - That is so awesome. I love following your family, you guys are just an inspiration to us all.

    I saw this today and thought of you. If I knew your daughters size, or even your address, I’d send it to you. So for now, the picture will have to do. http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1243696/carters-daddys-little-firecracker-tee-girls-4-6x.jsp

  • Kate - This is so sweet and so special. God is amazing, what a masterful design.

  • ERin - I was at Longwood Gardens this weekend too! And I might have just peed my pants if I saw you guys there. Glad you had such a great trip. πŸ™‚

  • Angie - I loved reading this post. I have been a regular reader of the Weldon’s blog and yours for a long time now… and what a small, beautiful world it is that you two are woven together like this. πŸ™‚ And I loved the last part of this post… that Little One was so giddy and happy to see her siblings after a weekend away. So special and touching.

  • Rena Frey - I am reading this at work and bawling! Such a beautiful story. I’ll be praying for you and Little One as you prepare for the next surgery.

  • Kimberlee Jost - So many good gifts in this post.
    Love it!

  • maggie - I love the whole story ~ the connection will be a forever thing…the last comment cracked me up…”never traveling with a toddler again:…lol….oh, and did you by chance remember that Emma’s real name is Emery? thought that was cool…:)

  • Katie-LovesofLife - I have the privilege of knowing Angie in real life and she is all of those things you said. I think this story is amazing! I didn’t realize that seeing Emery was what sparked that interest–I think it’s beautiful how God brought you together!!!

  • Maureen - After reading this post, I can’t help but wonder if Little One’s antics on the first flight out was because the last time she was on a flight her world changed upside down. (For the better of course, but still changed,) Maybe the anxiousness that toddlers feel but can’t put into words added to the travel upset.

    I got choked up at the end when you said she was giddy to see her siblings. Some part of her must have thought, “Aahh, they are still all here and I am a part of it!!” Love how you share bits of your life with us all.

  • Tracy a - Loved reading this Ashley! Thank you for sharing all you do about the adoption and life with all your children–I learn so much from you!

  • beach tuff {the lazee move} » ashleyannphotography.com - […] It was an incredible trip for a million and one reasons. Seeing our girls together and knowing how their stories are woven was just […]

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